State Question 802 proposes expanding the state’s Medicaid program to cover “certain persons over 18 and under 65 who are not already covered and whose annual income, as calculated by federal law, is or at below 133 percent of the federal poverty level.”
Under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act, this would effectively expand Medicaid to those with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. A family of four with an income no greater than $35,535 would qualify for Medicaid. The federal government would pay 90 percent of this program.
The ballot initiative would guarantee that the state is prevented from adding restrictions to make it more difficult to qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage than it is to qualify for the present Medicaid program.
SQ 802 would also require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to maximize federal funding for Medicaid.
There are two groups that oppose SQ 802, Americans for Prosperity and the
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. Americans for Prosperity, a political advocacy group founded by David and Charles Koch, has formed a Political Action Committee, “Vote No on 802 Association.” John Tidwell, State Director of AFP said: “State Question 802, which will force Medicaid expansion, will overwhelm our already struggling state budget and hurt those that the program was intended to help.”
Well over 30 health, religious, civic organizations, and other groups have endorsed SQ 802,
including the Oklahoma State Medical Association, Oklahoma Nurses Association, Oklahoma Education Association, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Oklahoma Catholic Bishops, Chuck Hoskin, Jr. (Cherokee Nation Principal Chief), Oklahoma League of Women Voters, Jay Johnson (CEO of Duncan Regional Hospital), several of the state’s largest Native American tribes, and the Oklahoma Policy Institute, an independent non-profit Oklahoma think-tank.
A study commissioned by The Oklahoma Hospital Association shows that more than $1 billion of Oklahoma taxpayers’ money goes to Washington, D.C., to fund 36 other states that have expanded Medicaid. The study also shows that it would provide healthcare to an additional 200,000 Oklahomans. Passage of this bill would bring that money back to Oklahoma.
Only the state of Texas has more uninsured people. It would create 27,280 new jobs, and generate $15.6 billion in new economic activity.